Just the beginning…
In March of 2009, I decided to write my story. I began sharing it with various health magazines in the hopes of writing articles on healthy living. Instead it led to an appearance in the September issue of Women’s Health Magazine that same year and then life went on.
I’m ready to continue what I started then: sharing my story and life choices to help motivate, inspire and encourage others to make changes toward a better quality of life. This is why I’m here. Below is just the beginning of my story along with the images of who I used to be and all I used to see in me…
Vitals Vernette Vergara 30, San Antonio, TX
Time Required to Reach Goal 1 year, 5 months
Lesson Learned Utilize all of your resources for support–there are all sorts of websites, books and magazines to keep you motivated! Constantly surrounding yourself with people with like-minded goals and healthy lifestyles can make all the difference in the world.
Secret Weapon A positive attitude! Nothing beats the kind of optimism you can provide yourself and making the choice every day to take care of YOU first is the first step at meeting and maintaining your goals!
Weight before 210 lbs
Weight after 140 lbs
I’ve always been a chunky kid. Growing up I was taught to clean my plate and was rewarded with sweets for doing so. I never shied away from trying new things so needless to say, I loved to eat!
Growing up I accepted that I may always be a two digit size as I climbed to a size 14 by the 8th grade. But by the time I finished college, I had ballooned up to 210 lbs and my clothing size was suddenly ranging 18-20 in 2004. Trying on clothes would make me cry and shopping was so difficult but it wasn’t the clothes I didn’t like, it was me. With my unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, this over-sized version of myself was not difficult to accomplish. If you’re not paying attention the reflection you see in the mirror can be truly shocking when you do see it.
For me, it was marrying and divorcing young that changed things around. Being on my own, I had more time and focus to truly take care of myself and not continuously put others first. I paid much more attention to the way I felt about the little things throughout the day and I realized that I didn’t feel great after bingeing on heavy foods or sugary sweets–I actually felt pretty awful afterwards! So the first thing I did in 2007, was cut my portions in half. I ate far less than I used to in one sitting and in just over 8 months I had dropped down to the 160 lbs! This was a great way to drop the bulk of the weight because even though I was focused on not eating as much, I didn’t feel deprived because I was still eating all the things I loved.
That’s when I hit a plateau in early 2008 and I realized I had to do more if I wanted to keep up the momentum. I decided to up the ante by choosing better quality foods while still controlling portion size and, of course, I began to exercise regularly, never knowing that I’d develop a love affair with such an active lifestyle! I started out just doing Pilates videos at home and as I got stronger and more toned, I decided to do even more. I began using the gym at my apartment complex, first just walking a few times a day until I got to the point where I could run…actually RUN!! I was the kid in grade school who couldn’t even make a lap without heaving! Soon after that I started to incorporate yoga with a personal instructor who has me doing a combination of power yoga and Pilates. I also do weight training 3 times a week and on alternating days I do some sort of cardio, also 3 times a week which leaves one day off. I never knew how much I LOVE being outdoors and living an active lifestyle!!
In less than a year and a half I made it to 140 lbs and am leaner and stronger than ever and gaining more and more lean muscle every week. I never thought I’d be a size 4 but I am and I absolutely love it! This has been a lifestyle change that has affected every part of my life in the most positive ways imaginable. I have better focus and way more energy, I sleep better, I feel great, I have less health issues overall and I can do so many more physical things than I could ever do before. I’m even able to keep up with the physically fit around me! I’ve found and am happily in love with an athlete of my own and just living life together helps to keep both of us motivated.
The best tips I have include:
- Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want and eat them first! I used to love sweets, but the more you eat healthier choices the more your body truly craves the good stuff. You begin to want the taste of foods your body is used to eating. It’s a cycle both ways so you have to be proactive at forcing the momentum in a positive and healthy direction. The same goes for water, too!
- Balance out your slips, don’t beat yourself up about it! I don’t like the idea of depriving myself so I’ll allow a little bit of something here and there. The way to balance it out, though, is to eat lighter the rest of the day and the next or commit to working out harder the day after. You’re still human, you’re not a machine!
- Stay positive! This is an important lesson for LIFE, not just for fitness or weight-loss. Speak truthfully and as you choose for things to be. Rather than saying “I’ll never finish this lap, or fit into that dress” constantly remind yourself that you can finish this lap and you will fit into that dress. When I was working out, my own mantra was always “I am stronger than ever! I am stronger than ever!” and it always got me through a really tough workout. This is one of those wonderful rules that applies to everything!
- I also keep a life make-over journal that I use to keep track of all of my accomplishments, mantras, meditations, goals and whatever else I need to remind myself to keep moving forward. It covers all areas of my life including fitness, nutrition, career, finance and overall personal development. The positive energy you maintain feeds into other areas of your life so it’s a good idea to keep feeding it!